Home     Sign In     Help     About Us     Search  
 The website of the chronicles of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army
My Account
My Library
My Cart (0)
Українська мова
Home News Books Catalogue Online Library Search Help About Us Links Login/Register


SERIES Item details and ordering
· Main series
· New series
· Litopys UPA - Library
· Series "Events and People
· The graves of insurgents
· Other related books
· The 100 Book Catalogue Summary
Book search  
Site search  

Name: Volyn and Polissia: UPA and its Rear Line. 1943-1944. Documents and Materials
Volume: 2
Editor in Chief: IE. Shtendera
Co-editor in Chief: P.J. Potichnyj
Editor(s): O. Vovk
I. Pavlenko
Editorial board: Ya. Dashkevych
V. Lozytsky
R. Pyrih
P.J. Potichnyj
P. Sokhan'
M. Ripeckyj
L. Iakovleva
Iu. Shapoval
IE. Shtendera
H. Boryak
B. Ivanenko
Sponsors: Royal Canadian Legion
Publication Year: 1999
ISBN (Ukraine): 966-02-0474-4
Pages Count: 724

Order Book
Quantity Format Price
Hard Copy $ 25.00
E-book $ 25.00
Add to Cart


PREFACE (short)

This volume of The "Litopys UPA" presents documents and materials of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) and its rear line military structure related to combat and military-administrative activities in Volyn and Polissia during the German occupation. The period covered is from April 1943 to January 1944. The documents include proclamations, orders, directives, instructions, reports and other materials, most of which were inaccessible to scholars or general readers since their capture by the Soviet secret police during the Second World War. With the rebirth of the Ukrainian state, the special collections in state archives which had previously been closed became open to scholarly study. The current volume is the result of the work done using such collections.

Only a very small portion of the documents and materials presented in this volume previously appeared in Ukrainian publications abroad, primarily in the volumes of the "Litopys UPA". In that series of books, which began to appear in Canada in 1975, the first, second, fifth and twenty seventh volumes dealt with the UPA and OUN activities in Volyn and Polissia.

This volume of documents and materials, which were discovered in the archives of Ukraine, is, essentially, a reply to the statement made by Col. Mykola Omeliusik, Chief of the UPA headquarters operational division, published in 1953 in the journal "Visti Kombatanta". He stated that, in his opinion "...the future historian will not find much material from underground sources of that period, because the UPA headquarters, which was very mobile and moreover lacked a secure rear line administration, destroyed most valuable materials such as reports, circulars, orders, etc. after their use, in order to prevent their falling into enemy hands" [1]. We hope that this volume will be an important continuation of the work started earlier by the "Litopys UPA" in Canada and will prove useful not only to scholars researching the UPA and OUN activities, but to all who have an interest in the history of Volyn and Polissia.

The Ukrainian national liberation movement in Volyn and Polissia during the Second World War has not yet been sufficiently studied. The documents and materials published in this volume provide additional information about the course of events in that region, including the origins and activities of certain UPA formations, and in particular, their headquarters, and rear line and supply administrative structures. By way of information, a brief historical overview of the UPA and OUN activity in this territory in 1943 is hereby provided.

The antecedents to the establishment of an insurgent army by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists supporting an Independent State (OUNSD) [2] should probably be sought in earlier military activity by the OUN. The period prior to the spring of 1943 should be viewed as a conception of a military organization, the UPA, within the political formation, the OUN. The actual beginning or birth of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army as a separate military formation under the OUNSD leadership in Volyn and Polissia came about only in early spring of 1943. A preface to the resolutions of the OUN Third Extraordinary General Assembly, which took place in August 1943, states that "during its Third Conference, in February 1943, the OUN Leadership having assessed the enemy's internal strength, and the external political situation came to the view that conditions in the land had become favourable for military action. Following this decision, there appeared in Volyn and Polissia the first armed units of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). From that very moment, the Ukrainian military force took onto its shoulders the responsibility for defending the Ukrainian population. In addition to self-defense, the UPA almost immediately took on the task of forming the cadres of the future Ukrainian People's Army." [3]

In spring 1943, there already existed "armed units of Bandera's OUN" which had outgrown the status of organizational combat cells and, following the military and political decisions of the OUNSD Supreme Leadership, began to form structured military subunits. These included the units commanded by "Ostap" [4] (Serhii Kachynskyi), "Dubovyi" (Ivan Lytvynchuk), "Korobka" [5] (Hryhorii Perehiniak), "Iarema" (Nykon Semeniuk), "Kruk" (Ivan Klymyshyn),"Arkas" (Oleksii Brys), "Ostryi" (Iaroslav Zhdan), "Dorosh" (Petro Kukharchuk) and others.

During the German occupation of Ukraine during World War Two, Volyn and Polissia formed the north-western part of the Nazis' "Reichskommissariat Ukraine." As part of the OUNSD organization's territorial division of Ukraine, this territory was given the name North-Western Ukrainian Lands (PZUZ) [6]. In terms of its geographical location and natural landscape, this region was conducive to the introduction of partisan activity.

In the spring of 1943, PZUZ territory was the site of underground activity by the OUNSD krai leadership, which consisted of the chief, "Okhrim" (Dmytro Kliachkivskyi), the political section head, "Halyna" (Iakiv Busel), and the Security Service (SB) section head "Bezridnyi" (Vasyl Makar). Operating within the leadership's military sectionwas a krai military headquarters, which had been established in 1942, led by the military section head, Lt. "Som", "Sonar," (Vasyl Ivakhiv) [7].

Part of PZUZ territory was the site of operations of the OUNSD underground organizational network, which was subject to the krai leadership and was divided into lower levels tied to administrative-geographical units: oblast, okruha (povit), nadraion, raion, pidraion, kushch. The smallest underground cell was the OUNSD stanytsia [8], composed of anywhere from a few to a few dozen organization members and candidates and members of the OUN women's and youth sections. Generally, a stanytsia's activities covered a single village in rural areas or a single institution in urban centres. At all levels of the network, underground activity was directed by local OUNSD leaderships. In addition to the chiefs, the leaderships consisted of the following sections: social-propaganda, organizational, security service, military, women's, youth, communication and economic management. The sections, which were headed by sections heads from local leaderships, had their staffs: the subsections. When local organizations were first established, members of the leadership frequently headed several sections simultaneously to balance the shortage ofpersonnel. In early 1943 on PZUZ territory, the OUNSD membership numbered several thousand. With later developments, the membership, and especially the numbers of sympathizers, significantly increased.

The events of World War li had a tangible effect on the economic, sociopolitical and military situation in Volyn and Polissia. Nazi German defeats at the fronts led to increases in food requisitions and the forced evacuation of young people to work in the Reich. Even passive resistance by the local population.coupled with underground, and in some cases partisan activity by the Soviet, Polish and Ukrainian independence movements, brought on brutal reprisals from the occupying administration, with the participation of the local Ukrainian auxiliary police [9]. In time, the members of the auxiliary police began to refuse to take part in punitive actions against the civilian Ukrainian population, which immediately resulted in repressions against them.

The military-political situation on PZUZ territory was sharpened considerably by the "move into the forest" initiated by the OUNSD in March-April 1943 in response to German repressions against the Ukrainian auxiliary police and later related events. The number of police members who abandoned the German service was four to five thousand. Many of the runaways eventually joined to the newly-established OUNSD insurgent army. According to UPA staff officer Col. M. Omeliusik, "They formed the basic cadres possessing some training for the development of larger UPA units" [10]. The German occupational administration responded to the departure of Ukrainian police members by recruiting Poles for police service and immediately began to use them for brutal pacification of Ukrainian villages. This contributed greatly to the subsequent Polish-Ukrainian conflict.

After the "move into the forest", OUNSD partisan military structures began to be organized on a large scale on the basis of the branched underground organizational network. In various places in Volyn and Polissia, combat cells, bands, groups, companies and divisions were established. This process demanded all of the organization's strength and energy. Forest camps began to be built and equipped, and economic and supply structures were being established. Real military training was also initiated.

In April-May, 1943, following the adoption of the name Ukrainian Insurgent Army, the OUNSD armed units began using this name officially. Using the PZUZ krai military staff as an example, the UPA Supreme Command was formed. On the basis of military staffs working with oblast and regional OUNSD leaderships, territorial UPA headquarters were formed. The UPA military court was established. In May, 1943, the signature under the text of the proclamation entitled "Ukrainians!" indicates the formal political separation of the UPA Supreme Command from the OUNSD krai leadership on PZUZ territory. The proclamation states, first of all, that "The Ukrainian people are sending into battle for a Ukrainian Independent United State − the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA)”. It also takes an uncompromising position towards other Ukrainian independence movements.

As we study the activity of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army on PZUZ territory and other regions of Ukraine, the question arises whether it was partisan or insurgent in nature. According to certain approaches [11] of the OUN and UPA leadership toward the method of armed struggle, "Partisan struggle by a subjugated people is generally an initial stage or part of the 'great war', the popular insurgence, when that armedpeople creates a regular army." [12] According to another approach, partisan activity may develop as part of an established army in the enemy's rear lines, or as the activity of insurgents "on their native soil." "Partisans must have behind them the population or the army." [13] From this we can conclude that the activity of the UPA army should probably be considered insurgent, or, in other words, a certain stage and specific form of partisan action, since it was limited to Ukrainian ethnic territory, was supported by the indigenous population rather than a regular army and was attempting to transform itself into a regular structure.

As of May 1943, we hear of actions by the first insurgent formations, which were relatively large, numbering more than five hundred men. These included the "First UPA group" commanded by "Dubovyi" (Ivan Lytvynchuk), the "Ozero" Ukrainian Insurgent Group commanded by "Rudyi" (Iurii Stelmashchuk) and the "Kotlovyna" division (zahin) commanded by "Iurii Rubashenko" (Stepan Koval). They were all active in Polissia, in the Kostopil, Kovel and Kolky regions respectively. Smaller formations were also established in Volyn. In the Volodymyr-Volynskyi − Horokhiv region, the "Sich" division (zahin) was formed, commanded by "Sosenko" (Porfyrii Antoniuk). In the southern Rivne oblast and in the Kremianets, region divisions were established commanded by "Chernyk" (Dmytro Kazvan), "Chornomorets"' (Ievhen Basiuk), "Kruk" (Ivan Klymyshyn) and other commanders. The above new formations became the bases of the UPA groups and rear line military regions (VO) organized in the second half of the summer.

From the time of their establishment, the UPA armed units began active military operations. They carried out attacks on supply, transportation, administrative and military centres of the occupational administration. For brief periods, they controlled entire towns (mainly Polissia raion centres): Volodymyrets, Stepan, Vysotsk, Dubrovytsia, Liudvypil, Derazhne, Olyka, Tsuman and Horokhiv. The town of Kolky, freed from German administration by the "Kotlovyna" division (zahin), remained under UPA and rear line control until November 1943. In one ambush, carried out on May 2, 1943, along the Kovel-Berestia road by a unit of the company commanded by "Kubik" (Tykhin Zinchuk), the German SA (Sturmabteilung) [14] chief, Gen. Viktor Lutze, was killed. During the spring, there was a marked increase in the number of skirmishes with Soviet and Polish partisan formations.

The organization of the OUNSD armed units was conducted bymilitary section heads, leaders at different levels of the territorial network and former commanders of the Ukrainian auxiliary police. However, the shortage of officers meant that UNR army and Red Army officers living in Volyn and Polissia had to be brought in, even if some of the latter were not of Ukrainian origin. To enable the UPA to train its own military cadres, non-commissioned officers' schools were organized within most UPA groups and divisions in the spring of 1943. On April 27, training began within the new "First UPA Group". On May 30, the "Chief Otaman Symon Petliura" [15] non-commissioned officers' school began to operate alongside the "Sich" division (zahin) in the Volodymyr-Volynskyi region. After the completion of several weeks of training, the insurgent army obtained its first non-commissioned officers. These personnel were immediately assigned to active and newly-established units to serve as military instructors (trainers) or subunit commanders.

In the summer of 1943, increasingly large areas of Volyn and Polissia were covered by OUNSD and UPA military and administrative activity. The German administration had walled itself off in cities and towns and controlled the rural areas only by day, with the help of large units of military police and the Polish auxiliary police [16]. However, in addition to German opposition, the expansion of UPA and OUNSD activity, especially in Polissia, was also blocked by large Soviet and smaller Polish partisan formations which were hostile to the idea of an independent Ukraine. The Soviet formations included the Rivne partisan formation (commander Volodymyr Behma), the Chernihiv formation (commander Oleksii Fedorov), the Sumy formation (commander Sydir Kovpak) and the Zhytomyr formation (commander Oleksandr Saburov). The Polish formations consisted of Armija Krajowa (AK) subunits and also other units, which had joined the Soviet partisan formations. As a result, the UPA became involved in an exhausting struggle on three fronts, against German, Soviet and Polish forces.

With respect to the UPA's conflict with the Poles, it should be noted that the OUN was determined to drive the Poles (many of whom were inter-war settlers or colonizers) from the territory of insurgent operations. For their part, the Polish government-in-exile, the AK, which was the legal successor of the Polish Army and subject to the government-in-exile, and nther organizations were equally determined to maintain control over territories which previously had been part of the Polish state. With the help of the Catholic Church, they actively involved most of the Polish population in their cause. The Ukrainian-Polish conflict was also actively encouraged by German and Soviet officials. The hostages in this conflict were frequently the Ukrainian and Polish populations. Unfortunately, the war aroused in both Ukrainians and Poles age-old hostilities and desires for revenge and led the two neighbouring peoples to attempt to annihilate each other.

In addition to constant minor skirmishes with German police subunits, the larger military actions conducted by the UPA during the summer of 1943, which are known to us today, include the following:
- the raid, of several months duration, conducted by units commanded by "Vereshchaka" (Fedir Vorobets) in the Zhytomyr and Kyiv oblasts and several combat actions against Soviet partisan and German police subunits in the same regions;
- the July offensive by units of the "Ozero" division (zahin) against bases of the Chernihiv Soviet partisans in the Manevychi, Liubeshiv and Ratne raions;
- in the second half of July, several major battles between units of the "Ozero" division (zahin) and Soviet partisan subunits in the Holoviany and Verba raions;
- the action of July 17-19 by the First UPA Group against Polish colonies in which Armija Krajowa and Red partisan units were stationed;
- the destruction of the Soviet partisan camp commanded by Antin Odukh in the Shumsk region by Enei's group's Dubno and Kremianets battalions (kureni) on July 24-25;
- the seizure of the Polissia raion centre, Kamin-Kashyrskyi, during the night of August 19-20 by "Ozero" division (zahin) subunits;
- the raid and skirmishes with Soviet partisans in August in the Sarny and Pinsk regions by units of "Commander Borysten's (Dmytro Korinets) combat group".

The UPA's and local village combat cells' skirmishes with German police subunits reached their greatest intensity during the Germans' seizure of the new harvest from the population. German police troops, commanded by Gen. E. von dem Bach-Zalewski, conducted wide-scale military actions against the UPA in Volyn in August 1943. Both sides experienced heavy losses and there were many casualties among the civilian population. Some UPA units, in particular "Enei's" group, were obliged, temporarily, to leave their base territory in southern Volyn and conduct raids into other areas. Some units of the "I. Bohun" − "Sich" division (zahin) were temporarily dissolved.

In July 1943, in agreement with the OUNSD leadership resolutions, UPA subunits disarmed the units of theOUN led by Col. Andrii Melnyk, which were active in the Kremianets and Volodymyr-Volynskyi regions. In August-September 1943, units of the Ukrainian People's Revolutionary Army (UNRA) [17] commanded by Taras Bulba-Borovets were also disarmed. Most of the soldiers from the disarmed formations joined UPA units.

In the second half of the summer, insurgent activity continued to intensify. This was the end of the period of UPA organization, which lasted from early spring to late summer 1943. As the UPA grew, it established permanent organized forms − companies (sotni), battalions (kureni), divisions (zahony), groups (hrupy). The UPA now entered a new phase of activity, that of state creation. This was somewhat analogous to the military-administrative activity of the Zaporozhzhian Army during Ukraine's national liberation struggle of the mid-17th century (regimental administrative structure, etc.).

At the end of the summer on PZUZ territory, OUNSD and UPA activity, having partially lost its underground flavour, switched to a military mode, with establishment of a front and a rear line. The front was UPA activity and the rear line, OUNSD military-administrative activity. On PZUZ territory, the front and rear lines were directed by a military authority - the UPA Supreme Command headed by UPA Supreme Commander "Klym Savur" (Dmytro Kliachkivskyi). Other members of the UPA Supreme Command were the headquarters chief − the military chief of staff, Col. "Honcharenko" (Leonid Stupnytskyi, who was also the military affairs deputy), the director of the political division − the political chief of staff, "Roman Halyna" (Iakiv Busel), and the rear line commander, "Pavlenko" (Rostyslav Voloshyn, who was the administrative-organizational deputy). The military headquarters came underthe authority of the UPA chief of staff. The headquarters consisted of the following divisions: organizational-operational, intelligence, communication, supply, training, health and others. Under the authority of the director of the political division (zahin), namely the political chief of staff, in addition to the division (zahin) itself, came the political-educational units of UPA groups and indirectly (along professional lines) the rear line social-political sections. The authority of the rear line commander covered the following sections: organizational-mobilization, social-political, the security service, economic management, communications, the Ukrainian Red Cross and the newly-established civilian administration.

The entire PZUZ territory (General Okruha − GO) was divided into four Operational-territorial sectors, namely, the military regions (Viiskovi Okruhy − VO), in which specific UPA groups were based, headed by operational-territorial commands. The military regions (VO) were divided into smaller sectors − military nadraions (VN), military raions (VR), military pidraions (VP), kushchi and stanytsi. These military-administrative institutions, established on the basis of the previous OUN organizational network, became the basis of the UPA rear line.

Following is what is known about the larger military-administrative units of the UPA rear line on PZUZ territory in the fall-winter of 1943:

The "Zahrava" UPA VO (group), No. "01", covered the northern half of the Rivne oblast and southern raions of the Polissia oblast of Belarus. The region included the following military nadraions: Kostopil − "Dolyna", Sarny − "Lisova Pisnia", Stolyn − "Halo", Pinsk − "Boloto".

The "Bohun" UPA VO (group) [18], No. "02", covered the southern half of the Rivne oblast and the Kremianets region. The military nadraions were: Korets − "2/2", "Kolino" ; Rivne − "3/3", "Ozero"; Zdolbuniv − "4/4", "Luh"; Dubno − "6/6", "Dub"; Kremianets − "7/7".

The Turiv UPA VO (group), No. "03", included the Volyn oblast and the southern raions of the Berestia oblast of Belarus. The military nadraions [19] were: Lutsk − "Khortytsia," Volodymyr-Volynskyi − "Step", Kovel − "Kodak", Berestia.

The "Tiutiunnyk" UPA VO (group) [20], No. "04", covered the Zhytomyr oblast and the western raions of the Kyiv oblast. The military nadraions were: Zhytomyr, Berdychiv, Andrushiv, Novohrad-Volynskyi, Ovruch, Fastiv and others.

In the operational-territorial commands, the UPA military region and group was led by the group commander. The group headquarters, headed by the chief, and the rear line administration, headed by the rear line commander fell under his authority. The duties of the group's chief of staff included organizing the troops' daily iife and activities, developing plans for military operations and taking practical measures for their execution. As part of the group headquarters was the political division (zahin) headquarters, headed by the political instructor (political chief of staff). His functions included propaganda work and political education of the groupunit personnel. The rear line commander directed all the organizational work of the OUN underground, the establishment, regulation and control of the work of the civilian administration, mobilization into the UPA, materiel and supply structures, the Ukrainian Red Cross and other activities on the territory of the military region. The political section head (political chief of staff) directed political work in the administrative territory of the military region.

The earliest commanders and rear line commanders known to us today were:
"Zahrava" Group (VO) − commander "Dubovyi" (Ivan Lytvynchuk), rear line commander "Iurko" (Iurii Rybak).
"Bohun" group (VO) − commander "Enei" (Petro Oliinyk), rear line commander "Ptashka" (Sylvestr Zatovkaniuk).
"Turiv" group (VO) − commander "Oleh" [21] (Mykola Kovtoniuk-Iakymchuk), rear line commander "Iaroslav Karmeliuk" [22].
"Tiutiunnyk" group (VO) − commander "Vereshchaka" (Fedir Vorobets).

With the exception of the "Tiutiunnyk" VO, the operational-territorial commands of the UPA groups (VO) had most of the populated centres in Volyn and Polissia under their political influence and military-administrative activity. However, the UPA units and local formations (combat cells, village self-defence units) under their control, which in some cases were much weaker (in numbers, ammunition) than their opponents, were unable to guarantee the security of the rear lines. In the second half of 1943, such security existed only temporarily and mainly in forested areas: (Kremianets region (Antonovychi republic), Korets region (northern part), Volodymyr-Volynskyi region ("Sich"), Kovel region (Skulyn forest), Kolky region (Kolky republic) and Stepan-Derazhne region). For this reason, the operational-territorial commands, in particular UPA headquarters, were mobile, frequently decentralized and to some extent underground. The group commands were concentrated (quartered) mainly in farmsteads and villages of the above-mentioned areas.

Political-propaganda work on territories covered by insurgent and underground activity was conducted with the help of periodical and non-periodical publications produced in underground printing shops of the krai leadership and military regions (VO). The publication of political-propaganda literature was directed by the rear line social-political centre heads, with participation from UPA political instructors. For the production of serial publications, propaganda centres were established (the UPA Ukrainian Press Service [UPS]) and organizationally linked to underground printing shops (technical units).

UPA military press on PZUZ territory in 1943 consisted of several periodic publications: the UPA Supreme Command journal "Do zbroyi" (printed in the "Zahrava" VO), the humorous journal "Ukrainskyi Perets" (Zdolbuniv military nadraion in the "Bohun" VO), the newspaper "Nash front" (Kovel military nadraion in the "Turiv" VO), the newspaper "Informator" (Volodymyr-Volynskyi military nadraion in the "Turiv" VO).

The dominant idea in the UPA press was the achievement of the Ukrainian Independent United State by means of struggle against the "imperialistic regimes" of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, in addition to political-propaganda materials, which expressed this idea based on the history of the Ukrainian people's national liberation struggle, the UPA press also published technical military and political information and poetic and humorous materials.

The economic management section assumed a great deal of importance among UPA rear line activities. Supporting a staff estimated at more than 10,000 peoples required a powerful purchase and supply apparatus. Autonomous economic management structures were created in all except the "Tiutiunnyk" VO. The latter relied on the services of the "Zahrava" and "Bohun" military regions because of the lack of development of an UPA rear line economic management apparatus in the Zhytomyr and Kyiv oblasts.

The leadership of the above UPA groups was almost identical in composition to the UPA Supreme Command. The difference between the UPA Supreme Command and the group leadership lay in the fact that the UPA Supreme Command, being limited in size (a few dozen men), played the role of a partisan centre on PZUZ territory. It provided professional assistance in organizing "partisan activity," gave actions general direction and planned the more important military operations. The UPA rear line leadership played a similar role. In particular, in the area of materiel and supply, the economic management division of the UPA Supreme Command co-ordinated UPA and rear line needs, determined and developed the economic potential of the military regions and organized exchange and trade among them. Thus, the operational-territorial command of the groups and VOs shouldered almost the entire burden of the military, administrative and economic management activity of the UPA and rear line in Volyn and Polissia.

The UPA groups operating in the VOs were organized into companies (sotni), battalions (kureni) and divisions (zahony). The company [23], which had about 100 - 150 men, was the smallest military operational unit. Two or three companies joined together to form a battalion or division. In the "Turiv" group, divisions were significantly larger and were composed of 2-3 battalions. Companies, battalions and divisions were attached territorially to their place of establishment or base. An exception to this was the "Tiutiunnyk" group, which was composed largely of units transferred from other groups and had bases in the "Zahrava" and "Bohun" military regions.

The following is known about the structure and command staff of the UPA groups and their subunits on PZUZ territory in early autumn:

Group no. "01", "Zahrava" - military chief of staff Lt. "Slavuta"-"Makarenko" [24] (Mykola Levytskyi), political chief of staff "Ostap", political officer "Zymnyi" (Stepan Kostetskyi). The group's divisions (zahony) were:
"Bohun" division − commander "Iarema" (Nykon Semenuik);
"Ostap" division − commander "Shavula" (Adam Rudyk);
"Kolodzinskyi" division − commander "Laidaka" (Mykyta Skuba);
"Konovalets" division − commander "Kora" (Makar Melnyk);
"Khmelnytskyi" division (zahin) − commander "Borovyi" (Vasyl Brylevskyi);,
"Doroshenko" division − commander "Voronyi" (Vasyl Levkovych);

Group no. "02", "Bohun" - military chief of staff "Chernyk" (Dmytro Kazvan), political officer "Nestor". The group's battalions (kureni) [25] were: Dubno − commander "Iurko" (Iurii Chuikovskyi); Kremianets − commander "Kruk" (Ivan Klymyshyn). Most of the group's units operated as individual companies [26] led by commanders:"Maks" (Maksym Skorupskyi), "Nehus" (Serhii Oleskiv), "Sabliuk" (Ostap Kachan), "Hordienko" (Dmytro Khandii), "Orel", "Topolia" and others.

Group no. "03", "Turiv" − military chief of staff "Klym" (Mykola Bedryk), political officer "Khmuryi." The group's divisions (zahony) were:
no. "01", "Kotlovyna" − commander "Iurii Rubashenko" (Stepan Koval), military chief of staff capt. "lar", political officer "Khoma";
no. "02", "Ozero" − commander "Rudyi" (Iurii Stelmashchuk), military chief of staff "Vovchak" [27] (Oleksii Shum), political officer "Tur";
no. "03", "I. Bohun"−"Sich" − commander "Livar", military chief of staff "Ktishch" (Porphyrii Antoniuk), political officer "Brova".

Group no. "04", "Tiutiunnyk" − military chief of staff "Ocheretenko" (Petro Hudzovatyi), political chief of staff "Orel", "Bystryi" (Petro Stepanenko). A few companies from other groups were temporarily assigned to this group [28].

As of August 15, 1943, the UPA Supreme Command, having proclaimed itself "the supreme and sole sovereign authority" on the territories of Ukraine liberated by the insurgent army from Soviet and German occupiers and Polish colonists, introduced private ownership of land by Ukrainian peasants. In order to divide up the land and distribute it to peasants, land commissions were elected. The distribution of available land for private ownership began in September [29]. As of September 1, by means of a separate directive, a government was established on the territories under UPA control to regulate community life. This government was made up of bodies elected from the village to the oblast — councils and management boards.

Within insurgent-controlled territories, universal education was introduced for school age children and schools were supposed to open by September 30, 1943. To defend the civilian population against attack and plunder, the UPA Supreme Command ordered the organization of village self-defence units and directed their establishment. For this purpose, all young people eligible for military service were given military and other training.

The merging of insurgent units into a single military body represented a systematic process of the creation of an army. For this purpose, order no. 8, dated August 27, 1943, introduced UPA military ranks and specified that, in keeping with tradition, ail soldiers were to be called "kozaks".

In September 1943, the UPA introduced a field military police (VPZh) to replace the various police subunits within all groups and divisions. To deal with criminal cases, police posts were established in the rear lines. To collect and produce maps, a cartography unit was established within every group.

In early autumn 1943, separate cavalry units (squads, platoons, companies) were organized within UPA subunits. For example, in Enei's group ("Bohun") a cavalry company began to be organized in September under the command of Col. Danko (Oleksandr Danylenko). UPA efforts also focused on organizing radio communication, which was used for liaison with units in Polissia. For propaganda, memoiristic, artistic and archival tasks, the UPA Ukrainian Press Service was organized.

With the growth of the UPA, a strong need arose for internal training of officer cadres. For this purpose, formal officers' schools were organized during the summer and autumn of 1943. In July, as part of a training company led by Lt. Horyn (Lev Krysko), the "Druzhynnyky" officers' (yunaki) school was established. During its entire life, the school operated at the UPA Supreme Command headquarters, where it also acted as an internal defence circle. The external defence circle was formed in turn by divisions (zahony) of the"Zahrava" group. Except during times of German actions, the school and its staff were quartered in forest homesteads in the Stepan raion. Staff officers and instructors taught various disciplines in the school. Once the four-month training course and examinations were completed, in December 1943, the work of the school was finished.

In addition to this first school, a second officers' (yunaki) school, "Lisovi chorty", was organized in October, under the direction of Lt. "Pol" (Fedir Poliovyi). After delivering an abbreviated course of training and early exams, the school ended its work in January 1944. The school's property and some of the instructors and students (yunaki) moved to the Carpathian Mountains, where a third officers' school was established "Oleni no. 1".

On completion of the officers' school, only those graduates who had previous command experience or obtained very high marks in the examinations were awarded the most junior officer rank, Second Lieutenant (khorunzhyi). Most graduates were made non-commissioned officers. After completing training, the graduates returned to their military groups, where they were given assignments as required.

To fill the need for qualified non-commissioned officers, at different times during the second half of 1943 there operated from one to three non-commissioned officers' schools with every UPA group except "Tiutiunnyk". During the autumn, there were two schools, "Khorty" and "Vezuvii", within the "Zahrava" group. In the "Bohun" group, the existence of the "Pivnich" school is known. In the "Turiv" group, there were schools within all three divisions (zahony).

Apart from these schools, there operated within the groups and VOs a whole range of engineering, driving, health, radio technical, telephone, economic management and other types of training, courses and schools to prepare personnel for UPA and rear line services.

Of the actions carried out by the UPA during the fall-winter 1943, the best known include:
- the victorious combat actions of a formation made up of nine "Turiv" group companies, under the tactical command of commander "Vovchak" (Oleksii Shum) against German police subunits, which took place on September 7-9 near the village of Radovychi, Turiia raion,
- the heroic defence on September 11, 1943 by the platoon commanded by "Bereza" (Andrii Martsyniuk), which was surrounded in the Zahoriv monastery (Horokhiv raion), against attacks by the much larger forces of German armoured infantry, artillery and air force,
- the raid and skirmishes of two "Tiutiunnyk" group battalions with German and Soviet partisan subunits in October 1943 in the western Zhytomyr region,
- the attack in October by divisions of the "Turiv" and "Zahrava" groups on Soviet partisan bases in the Liubeshiv and Morochany raions of Polissia,
- the unsuccessful attack by a six-company formation under the tactical command of commander "Shavula" in early November on AK subunit and Soviet partisan bases in the eastern Liudvypil raion (attack on the village of Mochulianka),
- the November-December raids "east" into the Kamianets-Podilskyi and Vinnytsia regions by units of the "Kodak" group, which shortly before had been organized within the "Bohun" group.

In August 1943, the OUN Third Extraordinary General Assembly was held in Halychyna, which became a part of the General Government of Galicia established by the Germans. During this assembly, important military and political decisions were made, in particular, those applying to ideology and continued armed struggle against the occupying powers. During the autumn, these decisions were implemented as part of OUN activity on PZUZ territory. As a result of the decisions, a Conference of subjugated nations was held in the Zdolbuniv region on November 20-21, where it was decided that other nations enslaved by the USSR were to be encouraged to join in the national liberation struggle like the one waged by the UPA and OUN.

At the end of 1943, the OUN Leadership, led by the Leadership bureau chief "Tur" (Roman Shukhevych), made a decision to reform the UPA structure and broaden its activities. The armed units, operating within the UPA on PZUZ territory and military sections in other regions of Ukraine, were reorganized into three krai commands: UPA-West, UPA-North and UPA-South. The military headquarters of the OUN Supreme Leadership's military section became the UPA Supreme Military Headquarters (HVSh).

As part of the reform of OUN military activity, units of the Ukrainian National Self-defence (UNS), which had been operating in Halychyna as of July 1943 under the direction of the OUN krai military headquarters in Western Ukraine (ZUZ), were given the name UPA-West (UPAZ). UPA subunits, active on PZUZ territory, were given the name UPA-North. The UPA-South command was organized out of the "Kodak" group, which was part of the "Bohun" group, and the krai OUN leadership in southeastern Ukraine (PSUZ). The "Tiutiunnyk" group was identified in propaganda literature distributed in the Zhytomyr and Kyiv regions as UPA-East, although it did not have its own krai command.

Summing up OUN and UPA activity in late 1943 on PZUZ territory, we note a significant growth in the membership of both organizations in comparison with earlier in the year. OUN membership, excluding OUN youth [30] and sympathizers [31], can be estimated at eight to 10 thousand. The "Turiv" group, after partial demobilization and the transfer of the "Kotlovyna" division (zahin) [32] to the "Zahrava" group, numbered 3,048 members on January 1, 1944. If we include the demobilized men and the members of various rear line armed formations, UPA membership reached 15-20 thousand [33]. Among the factors inhibiting UPA growth wasthe lack of weapons, ammunition and trained officer cadres.

To counter the problem of weapon and ammunition shortage, the UPA and rear lines established small workshops for the repair, conversion and production of weapons and ammunition. For the production of light infantry weapons, the workshops began to operatein a systematic, assembly-line fashion. Thus, a workshop in the southern Rivne region was producing "Komar" incendiary grenades.

In spite of the lack of any significant material and technical base, the UPA command also tried to establish units armed with heavy weapons seized from enemy forces. Separate artillery units were organized within groups, divisions and battalions. A separate light battery commanded by "Bereza" was formed within the "Bohun" group. According to certain information, tanks were used by the UPA, in particular in the "I. Bohun" - "Sich" and the "Konovalets" divisions (zahony). During the passage of the German-Soviet front through PZUZ territory, the UPA's access to infantry weapons, ammunition and sometimes even heavy weapons increased significantly.

With the approach of the German-Soviet front to PZUZ territory, the rear line and UPA began to prepare actively for the arrival of Soviet rule and its system of repression (NKVD-NKGB). The aim of the preparations was to maintain a lasting insurgent struggle against the new occupiers. Large supplies of food, uniforms and weapons were procured and stored in underground hiding places. Secret hideouts or bunkers were dug and built for the UPA and rear line. Various types of sabotage groups were formed. Strong anti-Soviet propaganda was waged.

The changes occurring in the military and political situation both on PZUZ territory and in the broader context of the war (German losses, Italy's surrender, etc.) led to contacts being made by the UPA and rear line with representatives of various formations in the German army, administration and police. The most developed were the contacts (discussions) with the commands of Hungarian military units operating in Volyn and Polissia. In particular, an agreement was reached regarding non-aggression and the cessation of forced requisitions from the civilian population by the Hungarians. There were significant contacts and movement to the UPA side of variousnational units (Uzbeks, Tartars, Azerbaidzhanis, Georgians and other) from the German side. As for Ukrainian-German contacts (discussions), the conditions of these contacts varied depending on the importance of the participants, and in most cases, were deemed unsatisfactory. The demands of the UPA and its rear line focused mainly on security of the civilian population, liberation of imprisoned leaders of the Ukrainian national liberation movement and procurement of weapons and ammunition. Later, discussions with German officials were forbidden by the UPA command.

In January-February, 1944, after the Soviet advance, most of Volyn and Polissia was taken over by Soviet troops. On January 11 and 27, the cities of Sarny and Ostrih were taken. On February 2, the oblast centres of Rivne and Lutsk fell. In the spring, the German-Soviet front stopped along the Kremianets − Lokachi − Kovel − Kamin-Kashyrskyi line. Most UPA-North units, as well as the newly-organized UPA-South, moved to, or found themselves on, Soviet-controlled territory. Thus began a new, Soviet period of their operations.

Oleksander Vovk

[1] Litopys UPA, Toronto, 1989. vol. 1, p. 19.
[2] This name was adopted by the OUN organization led by Stepan Bandera during the Third conference of the OUN Supreme Leadership in February 1943. At the OUN Third Extraordinary Assembly in August 1943, the former name was reinstated.
[3] OUN v svitli postanov Velykykh Zboriv, Konferentsiy ta inshykh dokumentiv z borot'by 1929-1955. Biblioteka ukrayins'koho pidpil'nyka, 1955, no. 1, p. 97.
[4] Here and hereafter, all pseudonyms and code names are shown in quotation marks. The organization in Polissia in October 1942 by OUN military section head Ostap of armed groups was recognized as the beginning of new forms of the liberation revolutionary movement – the UPA, by the resolution of the Supreme Ukrainian Liberation Council (UHVR) of May 30 and the special order of UPA Supreme Commander Taras Chuprynka (Roman Shukhevych) of October 14, 1947. October 14, 1942 was recognized as the day of the founding of the UPA.
[5] In the publication issued by the UPA political division (zahin), the newspaper Do zbroyi of July 1943, the armed unit commanded by Korobka is called the first UPA company.
[6] In addition to the Volyn and Rivne oblasts, PZUZ also included the southern raions of the Berestia and Polissia oblasts of Belarus. In 1943, the Zhytomyr and western part of the Kyiv oblasts were also added.
[7] On May 13, 1943, in a skirmish with a German army subunit near the village of Chernysh, Kolky raion, Volyn oblast, Lt. "Som" ("Sonar", Vasyl Ivakhiv) was killed, probably together with other members of his headquarters - Lt. Yuliyan Kovalskyi ("Marpun") and 1st Lt. Semen Sniadetskyi ("Sirko").
[8] Depending on the number of members in the post, there could be a smaller unit, the nucleus (oseredok) each one consisting of 375 members.
[9] In the present context, this name is used as a general term for all the military police subumts of which most of the members were Ukrainians.
[10] Litopys UPA, Toronto, 1989, vol. 1, p. 26.
[11] The approaches of the OUN and UPA leadership to the methods of armed struggle are reflected in the instructions: Partyzanka. Shcho ye partyzanka? (DARO, Coll. 30, Desc. 2, File 39, Folios 11-16); Partyzanka (istoriya, nazva, slovo). (DARO, Coll. 30, Desc. 2, File 39, Folios 8-10).
[12] DARO, Coll. 30, Desc. 2, File 39, Folio 11.
[13] DARO, Coll. 30, Desc. 2, File 39, Folio 9.
[14] In German, assault units.
[15] In July 1943, it was assigned the code name "Svitlana".
[16] In the present context, this name is used as a general term for all the military police subunits of which most of the members were Poles.
[17] In July 1943, the Poliska Sich UPA was renamed the Ukrainian People's Revolutionary Army (UNRA).
[18] For a certain time, in internal organizational documents the group (VO) was called by the pseudonym of its commander Enei.
[19] Probably because of the progressive reformation of the underground and organization of military and civilian administrations, in the military nadraions to which the former OUN regions were subject, the OUN nadraions continued to operate.
[20] In propaganda materials it was called UPA-East.
[21] From mid-September 1943, the Turiv group was commanded by "Rudyi" (Yiuriy Stelmashchuk),
[22] As of November 1943 (assumed date), the Turiv military region rear line commander was "Krylach" (Panas Matviychuk).
[23] A company was divided into smaller military tactical units - squadrons and platoons. Three squadrons made up a platoon; three platoons and a mortar or heavy machine gun squadron made up a company.
[24] As of mid-September 1943, "Borysten" (Dmytro Korinets) assumed the duties of chief of staff of the "Zahrava" group.
[25] In November 1943 began the organization of the Zdolbuniv battalion commanded by "Yarbei" (Mykola Svystun, "Yasen").
[26] To carry out specific assignments and raids, individual companies of the "Bohun" group temporarily joined together to form battalions.
[27] Took command of the "Ozero" division (zahin) as of mid-September 1943 (assumed date). "Leonid Yavorenko" (Mykola Pavlovych) became the military chief of staff.
[28] For example, the company commanded by "Lev" (Ivan Len), transferred from the "Turiv" group, raided in the Zhytomyr oblast in August-October 1943.
[29] On the basis of documents found in the Rivne Oblast State Archive (DARO), we can say with certainty that several thousand peasant families in the Rivne oblast were given land.
[30] In many cases, the youth membership exceeded the membership of the OUN's local organizations.
[31] The number of OUN sympathizers exceeded by several times the number of organized members.
[32] The "Kotlovyna" division (zahin) and its base territory, the Lutsk military nadraion "Khortytsia", were transferred to the "Zahrava" group (VO) in November 1943 (assumed date). In early 1944, the division (zahin) was given the name "Khvastiv division" (zahin).
[33] Sodol P. Ukrayinska Povstancha Armiya. 1943_1949. New York: Proloh, 1994, p. 47.

back to top
back to catalogue
Copyright© LitopysUPA 2003-2012. All rights reserved. Visitors: 1570017